Over recent years amid the uncertainty over international travel, many people have opted to stay on UK soil for their holidays. And this staycation trend has seen an unprecedented rise in the demand for motorhomes, with almost half of the drivers asked in a recent study saying they’d love to own a home on wheels. So, where do you start when thinking about funding your caravan or camper van dream?
If this type of holiday vehicle is on your bucket list for either your current lifestyle or your future retirement, then read on for some useful tips on how to plan and save for such a big spend; it might surprise you that you won’t need a lottery win to achieve your goal.
The waiting list for caravan orders doubled during the pandemic
Even today, the demand for caravans continues, so your big spend might take a bit of time to come around. From a positive perspective, if you don’t currently have enough funds available, this gives you a longer period to save up. But before your heart sinks at the thought of finding enough money to pay for a brand-new caravan, why not consider a used one instead?
Depending on the type of caravan, you could be looking at costs of around £15,000 to £100,000, while a used caravan is much cheaper – £5,000 to £50,000. Second-hand caravans also hold their value better than a new one, and you won’t experience the same delivery delays.
Unless you have a specific caravan or motorhome in mind, you should try one by renting a similar model for a holiday. A trial run will give you first-hand experience of what it’s like to stay in the vehicle, ensuring you make an informed decision when you come to buy.
Although we’re not caravan experts but we have some keen caravaners in the team, so we have some useful tips to help you buy a used caravan:
- Think about what type of model will suit your holiday needs – do you want to go abroad, or stay in one place? You have the choice of a static caravan, touring caravan, or motorhomes, so depending on your end destination, this might influence your options.
- First, decide on the size. Think about who will use it. Is it just for you, or will the wider family enjoy the space with you? If opting for a touring caravan, you’ll also need to make sure you can safely tow it. The 85% rule is a good place to start, as you won’t want the expense of a new car too – that’s a costly mistake to make.
- Set your budget – If this is your first caravan, it’s wise to spend as little as possible, as there will be extra expenses you might not have thought about – like that awning you didn’t realise you needed! So sticking to your budget is important when thinking about the funding for your caravan or camper van.
- Check the age of the caravan using the serial number, typically found on the chassis or chassis plate. If you can’t find that, then check the handbook. That might give you an indication as to the age of the vehicle. Ideally, you’ll want one less than 14 years old if it’s been well looked after.
- Make sure it’s not stolen! Caravan or camper van theft is common, so look for signs of damage around the wheel rims/tyres or the hitch. The Caravan Club has also set up a ‘Theftcheck’ register – you can find more details here. You can also pay for a CRiS check. REMINDER – once purchased, make sure you have insurance too!
- Do a thorough inspection – check the appliances are in good working order and that the beds are comfortable. Look for damp spots or bodywork damage, as well as testing the locks and hinges too. Your insurance will be invalid if these aren’t functioning correctly.
- Check the documentation – has it been serviced? Has there been any repair work? Is it all under warranty?
- Ask what else is included – you never know what accessories or kit might be chucked in with your purchase, which will save you pennies in the long run.
You might not spot something that could be serious later down the line. So always check with a caravan expert or organisation before you purchase. Once you feel comfortable with the purchase, there might be room to negotiate.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club membership increased by 14% in 2020, with continued growth throughout 2021
Funding for a caravan or camper van
Here are a few ways to find funding for a caravan or camper van:
- You might be able to draw funds from your private or personal pension if you’re over 55 years. But you would need to calculate whether you will have enough money left to last you throughout your retirement, so get an up-to-date pension review before you do.
- Maybe you have a nest-egg building up that could be put to better use. Parting with such a large amount of money in one transaction can be incredibly daunting, so having a cash flow plan gives you the peace of mind to make the purchase you’ve always dreamed of.
- You could reorganise your savings and investments strategy by creating or reviewing your financial plan. You may be able to make your money work harder for you by moving it into a different product – ask our team before transferring any funds.
- It also might be feasible to take out a personal loan to fund your purchase. With interest rates still relatively low, it might be possible to live your caravan dream by spreading the cost over time. However, we would strongly suggest you review your financial position, including your income and expenditure, before looking at financing as an option.
Whether you are in midlife or approaching retirement, you could have various options available to access funds and achieve your goals if you have a sound financial plan in place. So, if you are trying to figure out the funding for a caravan or camper van, don’t despair – talk to us.
If you need a financial plan to help you achieve your bucket list or save for a big spend, get in touch to speak to our independent financial planners.